Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be

Article excerpt


THE older you get, the faster time passes. So it is comforting to have occasional interludes in which the pace slows, the predictable always happens, and one can bask in happy memories of simpler days.

For many years now, Sunday night TV has provided just this in the whimsy of Last of the Summer Wine from Holmfirth, the gentle police drama of Heartbeat filmed in and around Goathland or its hospital spin-off The Royal set in Scarborough.

To be honest, I have not watched any of them regularly in years. Summer Wine lost much of its appeal when Bill Owen (Compo) died, and Heartbeat was never the same after Bill Maynard had to be invalided out of the role of Claude Jeremiah Greengrass.

Even so, it was comforting to know that they were still there in the schedules, providing work for British character actors and film crews, income for owners of wheeled bathtubs and classic cars, and a massive boost to the Yorkshire tourist industr y. Now, all of a sudden, they are gone. I have never knowingly missed a final chance to see anything since my father let me stay up especially late one night when I was seven, to catch The Last Night of the Crazy Gang from the London Palladium.

So naturally I was glued to the screen on Sunday to watch the very last episode of Heartbeat, which exited not so much with a bang as a groan and a lot of sobs, as cast and audience alike were left wondering whether Oscar Blaketon would survive being impaled on a very large pitchfork.

Given the Hitchcock-like appearance of the Grim Reaper in an earlier scene, I did not feel inclined to bet on it.

When Heartbeat started back in 1992, there seemed to be a fairly direct connection between the chronology of the series and real time.

But then someone no doubt spotted that they would soon have to move on from the steam trains, Bakelite telephones and pounds, shillings and pence that contributed so much of its appeal. …

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